“Let not your hearts be troubled. Trust in God.” John 14:1
It’s just the way I am. I can’t help it. I’m a worrier by nature. I’m too old to change.
Do any of those phrases sound familiar to you? Do you find yourself excusing your tendency to worry or your lack of discipline? Unfortunately we have too often allowed ourselves the Privilege of Excuse to mask areas in our lives which need change or improvement. We do not hesitate to challenge our children when they use excuses to cover their poor performance in school or their disobedience, but we frequently are far more lenient with ourselves when it comes to matters between us and God.
Jesus speaks to his friends in the hour of their greatest need, when they are about to witness their beloved Savior being beaten and killed. How preposterous of him to say they have the ability to not be troubled. Don’t they have every “right” to be agitated (the primary meaning of the word troubled)? Their world is about to crumble in front of their eyes. Their future is bleak. The one they have trusted to give them hope and a future is about to be murdered.
When Jesus uses the words “let not,” he is telling us that we have the power of choice. We need not be victims of our personalities or human tendencies or backgrounds. The road to victory is rocky and uphill, but God gives us the pattern for that victory: “Do not be anxious about everything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-8)
Precious Lord, I confess that it is much easier to make excuses for myself than to intentionally grow in faith. Help me face myself honestly, confess to you my lack of discipline, and then trust you to give me wisdom and strength to change.